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October 21, 2011
Soft: I help them have fun. Is that so wrong?

Frederick P. Soft is not welcome in Santa Clara. Jim Harbaugh said the four-inch fellow who sits on your shoulder and whispers praise into the collective ears of winning teams will be dealt with "quickly and decisively" if seen. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said, "our security people out front have been given a description and are trying to keep him out of the facility."


Who exactly is Frederick P. Soft? I sat down with the elusive Mr. Soft at an undisclosed location in Detroit where he had spent the previous week at the home of Lions head coach Jim Schwartz. ("He's not returning my calls," Soft lamented.) Soft rarely has been interviewed. However, he felt his name has been sullied, and he said it was high time he told his side of the story.

Author's note: This is an actual interview. I'm not saying the person with whom I conversed was Frederick P. Soft. But I'm not saying it wasn't him, either. The transcript has been edited for length. Soft's image (right) has been silhoutted for his protection.

Q: First of all, thank you for agreeing to this interview. As we all know, you have been media shy -- some would even say, reclusive -- over the years. Why break your media silence? Why now?


FPS: Well Matt, I generally work below radar. Usually I come to a city, make a lot of good friends and leave after the season. I don't ask for a lot of media love, but Coach Harbaugh had the gall to call me out before I could even come to town! Therefore, I felt it was time to give my side of the story. Hey, I'm a likeable guy if you just give me a chance!

Before we go on, I'd like to say your work is terrific and I'm surprised you aren't making 3x this amount somewhere else.

Q: That's flattering, Frederick, but let's concentrate on the interview. Do you have a history with Harbaugh? Any previous run ins that explain this animus?

FPS: You know, Matt, I'm just an easy going guy who wants to remind you what a special player/coach you are. I don't have a beef with anyone. But this guy, with his intensity, it's really off-putting. Way back in 1995 I met him and said, 'Jimmy, no one expects anything of the Colts this year! Let's talk about this down at Happy Hour.' He mumbled something about watching tape and walked away.

Q: So, you'd argue your motivations are misunderstood?

FPS: Yes, I'm misunderstood! What insight! I like to hang around top-tier athletes and help them enjoy their success. They've earned it! I want them to enjoy the view the top. These guys have been on the field and working out all their lives. They don't know any differently. I just like to open their eyes to new experiences. I help them have fun. Is that so wrong?

Sometimes they listen to me. I spent September with the Red Sox pitching staff. Jamarcus Russell - great guy.

Q: I heard you also spent some time in Miami this year. True?

FPS: Yes, in early summer I spent ten days with the Miami Heat. From there I spent a few weeks at the Eagles training camp... Let's just say the 'Dream Team' didn't name itself, ok? LOLZ

Q: How do you react when your hear Harbaugh say he'll act "decisively" if you're on the premises or when Fangio says the security staff is on high alert?

FPS: It's really a shame because I just want to be his friend. I just want to take him aside and say, 'Coach Harbaugh, this team is so far ahead of expectations...you should pace yourself.' And to get security involved, that's overdoing it. Come on, I'm four inches tall! I'm harmless! I just want to be friends. Is that so wrong?

Q: What are you doing during the bye week?

FPS: I like to refer to bye weeks as meet and greets! Those and long-term contracts are like Christmas for me. By the way, if the Niners are off 'til Monday, you should be too, Matt. Perfect time for a road trip. VEGAS, Baby!

Frederick P. Soft
Height: 4 1/8 inches
Weight: 82 grams
Middle name: Paul
Alma Mater: Duke
Favorite historical figure: Salvador Dali
"I told him, Sal, baby, anything you put on canvass is pure genius!"
Favorite actor: McLean Stevenson
Favorite movie: Godfather IV (It starred Eric Roberts and went straight to video)
Last job: "Did some consulting for Dick Nixon back in '72."
Favorite book: Anything by Dan Brown
Favorite quote: "Iceburg, schmiceburg." - Capt. Edward J. Smith

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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